Tales from the slightly blunt end…. Part Two

Following on from my previous blog post, here’s a selection of some more of my work from my time at HQ Personnel & Training command at RAF Innsworth. As before all images are taken by me and are Crown Copyright.

RAF Regiment Rowing the Atlantic: Two RAF Regiment Officers decided that rowing 3000 nautical miles from the Canary Islands to Barbados sounded like a good idea, and from the start we got involved with helping to raise interest in the endeavour before, during and after the event, and did quite a bit of work alongside Sky News and one of their reporters.

Early on in the boys preparation there was a chance for a photo opportunity with Nell McAndrew on the Thames to raise public awareness of the row.

A spot of training down off the coast of Teignmouth, beautiful still waters – not exactly the best training for the massive waves they had to endure in the middle of the Atlantic!

During the training session off Teignmouth the lads decided to have a dip.

Departure from La Gomera in the Canary Islands

Mark being reunited with his little girl in Barbados, who was a bit shocked at his appearance after 70 days at sea.

The lads having a well deserved beer, wearing t-shirts arranged by Matts dad, paraphrasing Sir Steven Redgrave!

Lithuanian Guard: The RAF took their turn covering the Baltic Air Policing mission, based out of Šiauliai air base in Lithuania, an interesting base to visit, as it was a former Cold War base, readied against the West. Pictured is a Lithuanian Soldier (airman? I’m not too sure!) mounting guard on the RAF Tornados, I was loving their issued sheepskin coats, very handy in the -20 degrees temperature!

Some of the RAF Fireman obligingly showing me some snow angels in Lithuania!

Officer on Parade: No real story to this one, just a nice shot of an RAF Officers sword

Doctor at Sea: I went flying with the Search and Rescue boys from Wattisham, out over The Wash to take some PR photos on a training sortie with an RAF doctor. They winched us down onto the deck of a civilian ship, and then back up again, which was a novel, if somewhat nerve-wracking experience as I was hanging out over the sea from the strop holding a cable leading to the winchman on the deck, much the same as the way the doc was being winched down in the photo below.

I took this one laying on my belly hanging out of the door of the Seaking – which was fun!

Another out-of-door shot, lying on my stomach!

Heli-med exercise – don’t worry, it’s only a dummy!

D-Day 60th Anniversary: I was fortunate enough to be on board the MV Van Gogh (which hasn’t had much luck since, what with going into administration, minor dinks and a food poisoning outbreak!) with a bunch of veterans, as we sailed across the English channel to remember the work of those who took part in the D-Day landings and to commemorate the lives of those who didn’t make it back. There was a church service, a small flotilla with some landing craft and the Lancaster from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight dropped poppies from her bomb bay on the ship, very moving.

Isle of Man TT’s: An RAF Technician competed in the TT’s so we went along with Sky News to cover his participation, a cracking weekend!

Henry Allingham: I know I’ve blogged about Henry Allingham before, but he was awesome! This was when a bunch of trainee Aircraft Technicians were taken to meet him down in Eastbourne – he sat and talked for 2 hours solid, and had them all enthralled!

RAF Football Association Tour: The RAFFA went to Pretoria in south Africa for their annual tour and as well as training and competing with local teams they also ran a training day in one of the Townships for local kids. I say local, some of them walked 3 hours to get to the football stadium it was held in – so humbling, the lads couldn’t believe the impact they had on the kids.

They also visited the Sunnyside Shelter for Orphaned boys, which was the chosen charity for the RAF FA that year.

I don’t really do many aircraft pics, most of my stuff is people pics, but I thought I’d put a couple in to finish up!

The first one is a King Air training aircraft, photographed over RAF Cranwell.

And this is the Hawk trainer from RAF Valley – paint it red and it’s the same jet as a rather well known display team J

Well, that’s kind of a pictorial history of some of the highlights of my time at RAF Innsworth, carrying out the role of Command Photographer. It was a great tour, with loads of fantastic travel, but I was glad to get to the end of my tour so I could know where I was going to be from one week to the next!


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